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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Giada's Ciambella Cake

As someone with a serious sweet tooth, one thing I love about Italian breakfasts is how they tend to be focused around pastries and sweets. After all, is there anything better than a strong espresso alongside a sweet treat? Ciambella is a delicious classic Italian cake that's traditionally eaten for breakfast, and it's incredibly simple and easy to make. Light, fluffy, tender, and with a great aromatic flavor of lemon and olive oil and a touch of fennel - it really is perfect with espresso in the morning!

In Italy, this cake will often be eaten alongside some charcuterie and cheese. For me, I think it's great for special occasions - and it's a fabulous hostess gift, too.

This can absolutely be served up as a dessert, too - and it's a win-win because any leftovers can be breakfast anyway! While it's delicious on its own for the mornings, you can dress it up with whipped cream and berries or citrus segments for a beautiful Italian dessert.




Breakfast Dessert

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

50 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Ciambella


  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground anise or fennel seed
  • Powdered sugar (to garnish)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Position a rack one above the center position. Spray the inside of a 9 or 10 inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, use a band mixer to beat together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy and pale in color, about 3 minutes. Add the olive oil, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract to the bowl and beat again on medium speed until smooth and combined. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and fennel seed to the liquid ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without and crumbs. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Carefully invert the cake onto a wire rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.



per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
56 grams
6 grams
19 grams
Saturated Fat
3 grams
52 milligrams
274 milligrams
1 grams
27 grams
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10 reviews & comments

  • Author's avatar image
    Amanda Curran

    Is it possible to skip or swap out the fennel? Really not a fan of anything licorice flavored (obsessed with amaretto). Would it ruin the recipe to make these changes? Thanks!

  • Author's avatar image

    it is just perfect, thank you Giada

  • Author's avatar image
    Rosalba Gil

    I love this recipe, made it twice but comes out dry. What am I doing wrong? ;(

  • Author's avatar image
    lily Giannini

    Just made it!great taste ,Thanks

  • Author's avatar image
    Connie Concepcion

    This cake was amazing!

  • Author's avatar image
    Nikole Harlan

    I made this for my co-workers and the cake was fully eaten in less than a day. I'm going to make it now for the people at my work who didn't get any. Thank You Giada. This recipe is amazing.

  • Author's avatar image
    Debbie Walser

    Thank you Giada just like the cookies!

  • Author's avatar image
    Debra M

    I wish I could post a photo – such a pretty cake !

  • Author's avatar image
    Cindy Idell

    Can I substitute canola oil for vegetable oil?

  • Author's avatar image
    Debra M

    I made Ciambella this morning, deliziosa !

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